News Release 029

DNR visited Springfield homeowner benefitting from Energize Missouri Homes and the Recovery Act Funding

DNR recognizes OACAC for work completed to date

Volume 38-029 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Kerry Cordray
573-526-4220

ST. LOUIS, MO, JAN. 22, 2010 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources today visited a Springfield homeowner, Stacy Vasquez, whose home is among the first of several in the state to be weatherized using funding made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. DNR also recognized the weatherization work that the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation, or OACAC, is performing to improve Missouri's economic recovery. OACAC is the local agency responsible for low-income weatherization assistance in the Springfield area and 10 southwest Missouri counties.

The state of Missouri is administering $128 million in Recovery Act funding for energy efficiency improvements to the homes of low-income families. OACAC weatherization director Todd Steinmann joined DNR staff at the event and provided a tour of the Vasquez home for a look at energy-saving improvements being made, which includes sealing air leaks and installing insulation to the attic, floors, pipes and water heater. Energy efficiency improvements to the home should help the family save more than $200 on annual utility costs.

DNR estimates more than 21,000 low-income Missouri families will benefit from the Recovery Act funding as their homes are weatherized over the next three years by OACAC and17 other agencies across Missouri. The agencies estimate the Energize Missouri Homes low-income weatherization assistance projects will result in about 220 additional Missouri jobs.

Recent changes to the weatherization program make more households eligible for assistance and increase the amounts and kinds of measures that can be provided for each weatherized home. Income eligibility expanded from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent. This means a family of four, which previously needed to make less than $31,800 annually to qualify, can now make $44,100 annually and will qualify. Of those households that qualify, priority is given to the elderly, families with children and those with disabilities according to the federal program guidelines.

The average expenditure limit per home also increased from $2,500 to $6,500. Energy-efficient improvements made to homes may include: reducing air leaks; increasing insulation in the walls, attic, floor and foundation; heating system "clean and tune", heating system repair and replacement; and minimal building envelope repairs.

Nationally, the Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program reduces national energy demand by the equivalent of 18 million barrels of oil per year, and helps the environment by reducing harmful air pollution emissions. Overall, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every dollar invested in the program, weatherization returns $1.65 in energy-related benefits and $1.07 in other benefits like reducing pollution and unemployment.

Applicants may apply for assistance to OACAC and to other agencies serving different areas of the state. OACAC serves citizens in 10 southwest Missouri counties: Barry, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Lawrence, Polk, Stone, Taney and Webster. Local program information is available on the OACAC website at OACAC-caa.org. A map of all Missouri weatherization agencies and the counties in their service areas is available on the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/energy/weatherization/wxmap.htm.

For more information on the Energize Missouri Homes low-income weatherization assistance program, visit the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/energy/weatherization/wx.htm or call 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443.

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